When he assumed office in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari made a passionate appeal to youth to engage in agriculture as a means of job and wealth creation as well as economic diversification.
His administration then introduced various initiatives to achieve this objective. They include the backward integration drive that birthed the directive to dairy companies to source local raw materials for their milk products, and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s agriculture intervention/collaboration schemes. An excellent example of the partnerships is the 10,000 hectares oil-palm plantation in Kogi State between the CBN and Agro-based Non-Governmental Organisation, Stocks and Minas Agricultural Advocacy Network Africa (SMAANA).
However, the initiatives have only impacted food production and wealth creation in trickles, no thanks to the inefficient Agric value-chain.
Issues including poor storage, transportation and distribution have steadily retarded the sector’s growth and stopped it from achieving its potential as a foreign exchange earner. Though inputs including fertilisers, tractors, seeds and even loans have been made available to farmers, the nation’s dream to feed itself and export the rest is yet to be actualised.
How then can we reduce inefficiency and wastages in the Agric value-chain for the benefit of all stakeholders and Nigerians?
Innovation via technological advancement holds the key to unlocking the potentials of the agricultural sector.
To this end, leading pan-African technology company, Cellulant Corporation, operating in Nigeria and 19 other African countries, introduced and deployed a solution called Agrikore.
Agrikore is a blockchain-based smart-contracting, payments and marketplace system-based platform. It is an ingenious digital platform that ensures everyone in the agricultural eco-system; farmers, community aggregators, food processors, financial institutions, insurance companies, governments, development companies, and logistics companies, relate truthfully with each other.
Blockchain refers to a data structure that makes it possible to create a digital ledger of data and share it among a network of independent parties.
Cellulant, through Agrikore, provides the platform which farmers, logistics companies, wholesalers, community aggregators and others come aboard and carry out end to end transactions from the farmers to the consumers. It enables aggregators to organise cereal/grain farmers to focus on farming while the community aggregators ensure logistics companies can pick up the produce. They also ensure they are transported conveniently and that farmers receive fair value for their crops.
This helps make everyone in the Agric value chain to focus and perform their task optimally, ensuring value is created.
Cellulant recently held a partners’ summit attended by players across the Agric sector. Participants had nothing but praise for the company as they confirmed they have been reaping profits from signing up on the Agrikore platform.
The platform currently caters to cereal/ grain farmers, with plans to extend to other crops soonest.
Fittingly, Cellulant’s strides are being recognised by development partners and financial institutions. At the partners meeting, Wema Bank signed an agreement to provide N2 billion in loans via Agrikore to prospective farmers, thus improving the economic diversification drive.